Michelle Oliver: Planning is key to packing the right stuff for any trip

08/29/2014 3:55 PM

08/29/2014 5:27 PM

Packing for a trip can be one of the most frustrating and time-consuming experiences any traveler faces.

I consider myself an avid traveler and absolutely dread packing for my adventures. Whether it is an event in Los Angeles or a fashion conference in New York City, packing is always left until the last minute. Although it is not my favorite thing to do, I have gotten significantly better at it over the past year.

Last fall I was due to fly to NYC for a conference with Lucky Magazine. I was so excited to experience the city and the conference – and then it hit me. How in the world was I supposed to pack everything I needed into one massive suitcase and a carry-on? I stressed about it for weeks and procrastinated until the very end.

I know I am not the only one who struggles with choosing outfits for a vacation or business trip. I am normally fine when I drive because I can stuff everything I need into my car. Flying is a totally different ball game. Luckily, I have come up with quite a few ways to save time and space in my luggage.

When it comes to picking outfits for your trip, take the time to piece them together when you are at home. Do not do what I used to and throw a bunch of random clothing items into your suitcase and expect to create an outfit once you get there – nightmare. Trust me, although it takes a lot of time to do it at home, you will appreciate it later.

Be sure to check the weather of your destination. That always plays a big part in what I take. Every time I fail to check the weather, I end up buying a piece of clothing that’s exactly like something sitting in my closet at home.

Be sure to ask yourself if you are really going to wear what you just packed. Anyone who has ever traveled with me is probably laughing while reading this. I used to overpack and end up wearing three out of six outfits. I learned my lesson, though, and no longer do that.

Once you have all your outfits packed, be sure to pair them with shoes. I typically take one simple pair of shoes that will go with the majority of my outfits. It not only cuts down on space in your suitcase, but also helps you to not stress about remembering which shoes you paired with what outfit.

Now when it comes to physically putting your clothes in your suitcase, I’ve also learned a valuable trick. Rolling your clothes saves space and helps prevent wrinkles. I used this trick when I went to NYC and was pleasantly surprised how many of my clothes did not have wrinkles. I have been using this technique ever since and am so glad I discovered it.

When packing your toiletries and accessories, be sure to use locking plastic bags. Nobody wants to have toothpaste on their expensive shoes. I use the gallon freezer bags for shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, makeup remover and toothpaste. I have yet to have any explode since I started doing this.

I also put all my accessories and jewelry in these gallon freezer bags. It prevents your jewelry from snagging your sweaters, dresses and any other delicate items.

I hope these tips help for your next trip that you take. Remember, plan it out now so it saves you time and money later.

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